I have heard depression described as the “common cold” of mental disorders. But don’t be fooled, depression can be severe and reek havoc on those who ignore it and hope that it will resolve or go away on its own. Everyone feels symptoms of depression at times, but usually these symptoms only last a short while and “normal” life resumes. However, it is important to distinguish being in a “funk” versus a deeper problem.
These are common symptoms associated with depression:
- depressed mood
- loss of interest or pleasure in activities
- weight loss
- sleep difficulties
- feelings of worthlessness
- difficulty with concentration
- recurrent thoughts about death
If you have a combination of these symptoms that have been present for a 2 week period and cause interference in daily functioning, it is important to speak with a mental health professional to address the source of these symptoms and ultimately gain control and find relief.
Anxiety is a feeling that most people experience on a regular basis. Anxiety can manifest in many different ways. Anxiety, although not pleasant, is a positive emotion; it lets us know that something is wrong. Just like the lights on the dashboard of a car can signal a problem before disaster strikes. It is important to listen to this feeling and to pay attention to what is going on around you to understand the reason that anxiety is present.
Symptoms of Anxiety include:
- excessive worry
- restlessness or feeling on edge
- being easily fatigued
- difficulty concentrating
- irritable mood
- muscle tension
- sleep disturbances
When a combination of these symptoms are present for more days than not and cause an impairment in functioning, it is important to speak with a mental health professional to see how you may benefit from therapy. There are other difficulties such as phobias and panic attacks where anxiety plays a role. Learn more about phobias and panic attacks here.
Lets face it – Life is traumatic. Whether it is a big “T” trauma or a little “t” trauma, we experience things everyday that shake our foundations and challenge our beliefs and thoughts about the world. These traumatic experiences seem to stick around longer than regular memories or experiences, but that is because they are filed away in our brains differently. Traumatic experiences are more complex memories. They are a combination of everything that a person experienced during a certain moment including sight, sounds, smells, taste, touch, and emotions. As a person recalls a traumatic memory, it will often play like a movie in the mind, happening the same way every time. When this happens there will often be triggers that bring the experience back into focus causing distress to an individual that can often interfere with normal functioning.
There are two designations for people who have experienced trauma
- Acute Stress- clinically significant symptoms occurring after a traumatic experience that occur within one month of an extreme stressor
- Posttraumatic Stress- clinically significant symptoms occurring after one month of an extreme stressor.
There are various treatment options in helping to resolve both Acute Stress and Posttraumatic Stress. Learn more about these treatments here.